Quantcast
Subscribe!

 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in benefits (25)

    Monday
    Apr022018

    CHART OF THE DAY: On the future of employer based health care benefits

    Is it Spring Break where you live?

    It is where I live - so I am going to be trying to balance some Spring Breaky things along with the blog, work, the HR Happy Hour Show and some other things.

    So if you are trying to reach me on something this week please be patient more patient than normal.

    But on to today's topic and Chart of the Day - and with a special bonus chart.

    A few weeks ago on the HR Happy Hour Show I was joined by benefits expert Shan Fowler to talk about the Employer Health Care Benefits Update for 2018.On the show, we discussed changes (or potential changes) to the Affordable Care Act, how some employers may shift the health care burden back to employees, and what the future of employer-based health care benefits might look like. In that same vein, I wanted to present two charts today - one directly related to this topic of the future of employer health care benefits, and a second chart that may help to give some depth and context towards understanding the first chart.

    Chart 1 - Courtesy of the Kaiser Famlly Foundatain's March Health Tracking Poll, which asked a representative sample of over 1,200 US adults whether or not they were in favor of a 'national health plan, or a Medicare for all plan', and also if they favored such a plan that was 'opt-in' only?

    Here are the results which showed 59% of Americans in favor of a national health plan, and 75% in favor of such a plan with an 'opt-in' provision.

      

    Let's go to Chart 2 before offering up some comments and observations about what the data might mean.

    Chart 2- From the Brookings Institute, 'Rethinking worker benefits for an economy in flux', a look at the growth (and comparative growth) of non-employer firms, basically independent workers in the 'gig' economy.

     For nearly two decades, the growth of nonemployer firms - firms that have no employees and mostly constitute incorporated self-employed freelancers (workers in the “gig economy”), has consistently outpaced traditional payroll growth. More and more workers in the 'gig' economy generally translates to more and more workers who lack access to 'tradtional' employment benefits - health care, paid time off, retirement and 401(k) plans, etc.

    And it's this trend in workplaces, and truly, in the nature of work and jobs themselves, that probably is driving the increases in interest and/or support for some kind of nationalized, and more importantly portable, set of health care benefits. Increased workplace fluidity, less growth in traditional payroll employment compared to gig work, and additional pressures on workers to provide child and elder care are all conspiring to make the idea of national/portable health care coverage more appealing to Americans.

    Politics (and passions) on both sides of the spectrum will likely make the passage of any kind of nationalized or Medicare for all plan really unlikely in the near term. But that is not the only mechanism to create platforms for more portable health care - programs that would be more easily accessible to the growing number of workers who lack access to traditional employer-based plans.

    A number of states, (most notably Washington) are proposing programs that would create non-profit benefit providers, to which employers of 1099 workers would contribute, and who would then collaborate with workers to determine which kinds of benefits to offer - like heath care, retirement, and PTO. Other state and local laws that have expanded access to retirement plans and paid time off and family leave are all being pressured to expand access to independent worker as well.

    The growth of the gig economy has changed and will continue to change the way we think about work, workplaces, jobs, and careers. It just might also change the way we think about and ensure access to, affordable health care in our country too.

    Have a great week!

    Monday
    Mar122018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 314 - The Employer Health Care Benefits Update for 2018

    HR Happy Hour 314 - The Employer Health Care Benefits Update for 2018

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Shandon Fowler

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Shandon Fowler, Founder and Principal of Four8 Insights, a benefits technology and communication consultancy based in Charleston, South Carolina to talk about important employer health care benefits issues, trends, and what HR and Benefits pros need to know in 2018.

    On the show, Steve and Shan reviewed what the changes in the ACA and other regulations have meant for employers in 2017 and so far in 2018, how employers might be shifting (at least some) of the traditional employer-based health care benefits back to employees themselves, and what the recent Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway announcement about their intentions to form a 'new' kind of company to help provide health care and benefits to their 1.1M combined employees might mean for the future of employer-based health benefits.

    Shan also shared he is the best selling author of an advice book for Grooms, (and is very popular in Slovenia), Malcolm Gladwell and the concept of the 'Risk Pool', and (shameless plug), why the HR Technology Conference is so awesome, (use my code STEVE300 for $300 off your registration).This was a fun show - thanks so much to Shan for coming on.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, your favorite podcast app, or the widget player below:

    Thanks to HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Wednesday
    Dec202017

    More on the employee caregiver challenge

    Quick shot for a counting down the days before a long holiday break Wednesday. Today's New York Times ran a piece on the growing elder care challenges in the US and the disproportionate impact that elder care demands are placing on female workers. You can read the piece titled 'How Care For Elders, Not Children, Denies Women a Paycheck', here.

    Two things of note from the piece, and then one plug for a recent HR Happy Hour Show we did on this topic in case you missed it.

    One, the numbers and population demographics in the US are making the elder care situation a much greater issue in the last 15 years or so. One researcher estimates that currently there are about 21 million family members in the US who are caring for an adult relative (and not being paid for this care). He estimates that by 2040 this number will increase to around 34 million. So again, the elder care challenge/crisis is only going to increase.

    Two, the responsibility for providing elder care tends to fall predominantly on women. The American Time Use Survey indicates that about a quarter of women aged 45 - 64 are providing some level of elder care. Other research points to decreases in labor force participation for women in this age cohort, a reduction in earnings and hours, and an overall decline in economic health and prosperity for these care givers. Finally, factor in elder relatives living longer, (and needing more long term care), smaller families (lessening the ability to rely on siblings to assist with care), and increased divorce rates, (often making the care giving burden much harder), and you can see that the elder care challenge is complex and real.

    It is important that HR/workplace leaders are aware of these issues as they will continue to impact an increasing percent of American workers. I must admit to having not given the elder care issue much thought until a couple of months ago, when we welcomed Adam Goldberg, CEO and Founder of Torchlight to the HR Happy Hour Show

    Torchlight is an outcomes focused, employee caregiver platform that helps reduce the costs and complexities of modern care giving for families and employers in the U.S. 

    On the show, Adam talked about the growing challenge of care giving in the US, the situation where employees have significant responsibilities outside of work with childcare, elder care, and other care giving situations that require, time, attention, resources, and are a major source of life and work stress for employees.

    I usually don't like to re-post older podcast episodes on the blog here, but after reading the NYT piece this morning, and thinking more about the importance of the issue, I thought it right to try and raise some additional awareness of the challenge and how one innovative company is helping employers and employees.

    You can listen to the podcast with Adam here, on the widget player below, or on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Oct302017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 300 - Taking Care of Employee Caregivers

    HR Happy Hour  300 - Taking Care of Employee Caregivers

    Host : Steve Boese

    Guest: Adam Goldberg, CEO and Founder, Torchlight

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Adam Goldberg, CEO and Founder of Torchlight, an outcomes focused, employee caregiver platform that reduces the costs and complexities of modern caregiving for families and employers in the U.S. 

    On the show, Adam talked about the growing challenge of caregiving in the US, the situation where employees have significant responsibilities outside of work with childcare, elder care, and other caregiving situations that require, time, attention, resources, and are a major source of life and work stress for employees.

    About 1 in 6 employees in the US, (that is over 20 million employees), are facing these challenges, and the changing demographics of the US and the workforce only suggest these challenges are only going to increase, making the employer response to their workforce's needs and concerns in this area more important. It is a billion dollar challenge and problem for US employers.

    Adam shared why this issue matters to him, and to workplaces, how employers have typically responded, (or not responded) in the past, and how modern, technology supported approaches, like the one developed by Torchlight can help employers and employees. 

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    This is a significant and growing problem in the workplace and for employees, and it was great to finally discuss this on the HR Happy Hour. Thanks to Adam for joining us.

    Learn more about these issues and about Torchlight at www.torchlight.care and follow them on Twitter - @TorchlightCare

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    Also, please take a minute and give us some feedback by taking our HR Happy Hour Podcast Network Survey.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts, just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to never miss a show.

    Tuesday
    Sep262017

    CHART OF THE DAY: What do employee health benefits cost anyway?

    In between arguing with sports teams, players, owners, and fans on Twitter, one of the other things that the US government's leaders have spent a bunch of time on in 2017 are the attempts, (and so far, 'attempting' is all that has been done), at revising, reforming, or replacing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

    And while I, or no one else as far as I can tell, has any clue what is going to happen with the ACA and whatever might come next, I have been thinking about benefits, in particular employer sponsored health benefits lately, for reasons that are both boring and not really that important.

    While on a internet foray on this topic over the weekend, (I know, my life is REALLY exciting), I landed on an excellent resource for this kind of data, Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey, which was recently released.

    The annual survey is a joint project of the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. The survey was conducted between January and June of 2017 and included 3,938 randomly selected, non-federal public and private firms with three or more employees (including 2,137 that responded to the full survey and 1,801 others that responded to a single question about offering coverage).

    So to get back to the title/question of the post, here is today's CHART OF THE DAY, a quick look at just what employer sponsored health care benefits cost, (the premium) and how much the average employee contributes to that cost. Here's the data, then some comments from me after the chart:

     

    Some thoughts...

    1. Wow, that chart is harder to read than I hoped for. Here is a link to the in a much larger size.

    2. In case you still have trouble making out the details, for 2017 the average cost (premium) for employer-based family coverage was $18,764 annually with the employee contributing, on average, $5,714, or about 30% of the premium.

    3. This split, or ratio of employer funding to employee contribution varies a bit by company size. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, companies larger than 200 employees contribute about 72% of the annual premium, while smaller employers (fewer than 200 employees), only contribute 64%. This difference equates to about an extra $1,600 annually that the employee would have to contribute.

    4. Surprisingly, the rate of premium increases has slowed in recent years. According to the survey, annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 3 percent to $18,764 this year, continuing a six-year run of relatively modest increases.

    5. There are about 151 million Americans who are covered via an employer-sponsored healthcare plan. That makes the employer market by far the single largest source of health care coverage for folks in the US.

    Really interesting data, and there is lots more to dig into at the KFF site.

    As I said, I have no clue what is going to happen with ACA, or whatever might come next. But I do think the more you know about how many Americans access and pay for health care the better informed you will be and the better prepared to make decisions for yourself, your family, and your organization.